The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF) and the provincial government are reacting after teachers rejected the latest collective bargaining agreement offer. 

It was a resounding “no” vote from the teachers over Wednesday and Thursday. The STF had 92.2 per cent of members casting their vote with 90 per cent voting to oppose the offer. 

What was being framed as the provincial government’s “final offer,” it included an “accountability framework” that would guarantee increased funding to school boards from the government to address classroom size and complexity. 

The proposal also included a three-year salary increase of three per cent for years one and two and two per cent in year three. 

Teachers have been without a contract since August. Talks have broken down on several occasions. Teachers have been wanting classroom size and complexity included in the contract. We’ve already seen single-day strikes, work-to-rule and withdrawal of voluntary support such as lunch-hour supervision and extracurricular activities as negotiations have stalled. 

The provincial budget for this year includes $356.6 million for school boards to address classroom size and complexity. 

The government has been adamant that classroom size and complexity will not be included in the teacher’s contract and should be left to the local school boards. 

“We know that the school boards have the authority to make these decisions, but unfortunately they don’t have the means to raise revenue, and they’re constrained by funds that are provided by the government through the budget process,” said STF President Samantha Becotte 

Education minister Jeremy Cockrill spoke to the media during an event in Saskatoon on Friday morning. 

“The result is disappointing because, again, the government feels like this was a fair deal and a good agreement for teachers,” he said. “But, going forward, it means we’re going to have to get back to the bargaining table and continue working.” 

NDP Opposition Leader Carla Beck also weighed into the situation on Thursday evening with a statement. She said the vote “sends a clear message to Scott Moe’s government – he's failed our education system and it’s time for a change.” 

The Teachers’ Bargaining Committee has extended an invitation to the Government-Trustee Bargaining Committee to come back to the negotiation table on May 13 and 14. The STF says not work action will take place immediately with the hopes the Government-Trustee Bargaining Committee will accept the invitation. As for Friday morning, there has not been a formal response.